You may think inflammation is bad. Something associated with aches, pains, and stiffness. And you’d be basically right. But there’s more to the story.
In fact, inflammation is natural and necessary for healing and preventing illness. The trouble is, in today’s world, your body is faced with a multitude of stressors. And you may be living in an ongoing state of low-level inflammation.
Over time, chronic inflammation can have serious negative effects on your health, including impairing your ability to think, depleting your body of nutrients, slowing down your metabolism, and contributing to emotional imbalance.
Foods high in antioxidants help reduce the damage caused by inflammation. The following are all good choices to consume regularly:
1) Raw cacao was called “the food of the gods” by the ancient Aztecs — and for good reason.
This plant contains over 300 enlivening compounds (many of which are strongly anti-inflammatory), has 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries, and is packed with vitamins and minerals.
But this doesn’t mean that you should start gorging on Mars bars. For the optimal benefits, you’ll need to seek out unprocessed and preferably unsweetened cacao. Don’t worry, though: Raw cacao is delicious, especially when added to a smoothie (like this anti-stress smoothie).
And if you don’t want to avoid sugars, choosing organic dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao is best. (And with chocolate, find organic or fair trade options if you don’t want to finance child slavery unintentionally.)
2) Acai berry is a low-sugar fruit that outshines the antioxidant potential of nearly every other food (except raw cacao).
It’s also been found to decrease inflammation and to speed up the body’s metabolism. If you haven’t tried this delicious, exotic berry yet, you’re in for a treat.
3) Leafy greens. You can’t go wrong with eating more greens. They’re an invaluable part of any healthy diet.
Studies have demonstrated that the healing crucifers provide the body with a bevy of nutrients that work wonders for inflammation.
Kale is an excellent choice used raw in smoothies and salads, or steamed, or cooked in soups and other dishes. And cabbage, Bok choy, collards, and Brussels sprouts are stunningly nutritious, too.
If you want to get a little more adventurous with your green cuisine, consider this: Studies have shown that spirulina and chlorella reduce inflammation, protect against oxidative stress, and even lower cholesterol.
4) Maca is a South American root that’s been used for thousands of years as a vitality elixir.
This food, often consumed in a powder, is one of the most potent and intelligent hormone regulators around. And it’s also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
5) Turmericis an anti-inflammatory superstar, as evidenced by thousands of studies.
Curcumin is an active component of turmeric that exhibits profound anti-inflammatory properties (and many of the other compounds in turmeric offer health benefits, as well).
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Research has demonstrated that curcumin is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of arthritis (as well as general aches and pains), diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, heart disease, and cancer, just to name a few.
In fact, as meta-analyses have reported, curcumin and the other beneficial components in turmeric exhibit therapeutic potential for over 600 different diseases and conditions.
6) Ginger is another remarkable natural anti-inflammatory spice.
Researchers have shown that 6-gingerol (one of the active components in ginger) exhibits potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it can provide relief to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as migraine headaches.
Like turmeric, ginger has been found to be useful for the prevention and treatment of a staggering array of conditions, and it offers general protection against disease due to its powerful antioxidant capacity.
7) Omega-3 essential fatty acids not only heal inflammation, but they also help maintain proper brain function, regulate mood, support cardiovascular health, balance hormone production, and preserve the integrity of the cells throughout your body.
When the ratio between omega-6s and omega-3s is too high, the result is increased chronic inflammation. Many staples of the American diet — like junk foods, chips, most baked goods, processed foods, chicken and red meat — are all high in inflammatory omega-6s.
Here’s the takeaway: Chronic inflammation poses massive risks to your health and many people in the modern world are suffering from it, but you don’t have to sit back and wait to experience the negative effects.